Mint (M): Absolutely perfect in every way - certainly never played, possibly even still sealed. Should be used sparingly as a grade, if at all.
Near Mint (NM or M-): A nearly perfect record. Many dealers won't give a grade higher than this, implying (perhaps correctly) that no record is ever truly perfect. The record should show no obvious signs of wear. An LP jacket should have no creases, folds, seam splits or any other noticable similar defect. No cut-out holes, either. And of course, the same should be true of any other inserts, such as posters, lyric sleeves and the like. Basically, an LP in Near Mint condition looks as if you just got it home from a retail store and removed the shrink wrap. Near Mint is the highest price listed in all Goldmine price guides. Anything that exceeds this grade, in the opinion of both buyer and seller, is worth significantly more than the highest Goldmine book value.
Very Good Plus (VG+): Generally worth 50 percent of the Near Mint value. A Very Good Plus record will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it. Record surfaces may show some slight signs of wear and may have slight scuffs or very light scratches that don't affect one's listening experience. Slight warps that don't affect the sound are OK. The label may have some ring wear or discoloration, but it should be barely noticeable. The center hole will not have been misshapen by repeated play. LP inner sleeves will have some slight ring wear, lightly turned-up corners, or a slight seam split. An LP jacket may also have slight signs of wear and may be marred by a cut-out hole, indentation or corner indicating it was taken out of print and sold at a discount. In general, if not for a couple minor things wrong with it, this would be Near Mint. All but the most mint-crazy collectors will find a Very Good Plus record highly acceptable. A synonym used by some collectors and dealers for "Very Good Plus" is "Excellent."
Very Good (VG): Generally worth 25 percent of the Near Mint value. Many of the defects found in a VG+ record will be more pronounced in a Very Good disc. Surface noise will be evident on playing, especially in soft passages and during a song's intro and fade, but will not overpower the music otherwise. Groove wear will start to be noticeable, as will light scratches (deep enough to feel with a fingernail) that will affect the sound. Labels may be marred by writing, or have tape or stickers (or their residue) attached. The same will be true of picture sleeves or LP covers. However it will not have all of these problems at the same time, only two or three of them.
Good (G), Good Plus (G+): Generally worth 10-15 percent of the Near Mint value. Good does not mean bad! A record in Good or Good Plus condition can be put onto a turntable and will play through without skipping. But it will have significant surface noise and scratches and visible groove wear (on a styrene record, the groove will be starting to turn white). A jacket or sleeve will have seam splits, especially at the bottom or on the spine. Tape, writing, ring wear or other defects will start to overwhelm the object.See my other auctions for more rare vinyl LP's!